When you are young and financially challenged, you tend to develop this habit of stretching everything to the limit. Like following a measly budget and hope you won’t die of starvation. Or wearing the same set of clothes until somebody notices. But perhaps one that we can really relate to is running your car on empty.
Let’s admit it. We’ve done this at least one in our lives. We always tell people we do it for the excitement but the truth is that our paycheck arrives in 2 days and you have nothing left.
As you get older and hopefully your finances improve, you rarely see the gasoline logo light up. But running on empty is still a fear we have to face especially when we like to go on long drives.
The thing about long drives is that the big distance between point A to B means a lot of things can happen. From reroutes to breakdowns and even jams. While a lot of resources on your phone and online can help you get a good idea of how much gasoline you need and where you can top off, at one point you might really run on empty.
But is running on empty really bad? How far can you drive your car on empty when the light on your Nissan, Lexus, Toyota, or Infiniti when the empty light is flashing? Let’s find out.
How Long Can You Drive Your Car on Empty?
For those unfamiliar with the term, running on empty means you are running your car even if the fuel gauge is at “E” or empty and the gas tank warning light is on.
Normally, cars have a reserve tank for such occasions. This means that while the main tank is empty, the reserve tank provides your car with the last few drops of fuel needed. Manufacturers also made it a point to “trick” car owners by dropping the gauge to empty even before the main tank dries out. This is because they know people like to put things off and that includes going to the gas station.
How far you can go on empty really depends on the type of car, the conditions, and the way you drive. For example, according to tankonempty.com (a website that tracks how far one can go on empty by gathering experiences from car owners) an Infiniti M35 can run up to an average of 48.33miles before the car stops. You can enter in your vehicle’s details to find information on your exact make and model.
Running on Empty and Why It’s Bad
While you may feel like MacGyver going all smart and risky in running on empty, it can do serious damage to your car.
For starters, running on empty means your car is literally scraping the bottom of the fuel tank. As your car ages, debris accumulates at the bottom. For older cars with metal tanks, this means deposits from the deteriorating tanks as well. Any debris or gunk that has settled at the bottom will be sucked up. The debris can either damage your fuel pump or force you to change your fuel filter sooner than expected.
When you run on empty, it’s often your fuel pump that gets the most stress. The fuel serves as a coolant and lubricant for the fuel pump for certain models and when you run out of fuel, this means your fuel pump might overheat and wear out.
Another thing to worry about is the car’s catalytic converter. When your car stalls as a result of running on empty, your exhaust system suffers. The catalytic converter is usually the one that gets the most damage, and you may end up replacing it.
Ask any mechanic or car expert and they will tell you that running on empty is a big no-no. The aim is to always have at least a quarter of the tank at all times. Aside from having the peace of mind knowing you still have enough to reach a gas station, it’s also a great way for you to show your car you appreciate it.
Fast and Friendly Atlanta-Area Auto Service at T3 Atlanta
T3 Atlanta’s mechanics are the best in the area for Nissan, Toyota, Infiniti, and Lexus cars. If you have questions (like how far you can go with an empty tank, for example), don’t hesitate to visit our shop. Our team of experts will be ready to answer your question and service your vehicle if needed.